The era of food delivery services

fast food delivery
Photo by Christopher Flowers on Unsplash

Food delivery services are awesome. They provide unbridled convenience since they’re even faster than fast food when you cut out the travel time. And so far they are relatively affordable.

Amid all the “we take care of X for you, so that you can spend more time on what truly matters” marketing baloney, services like Foodpanda really deliver (accidental pun, but I’ll take the credit).

I want to take this moment to appreciate the amazing times we live in. Thank you, Foodpanda, Deliveroo, and Uber Eats!

But I also want to point out something that I’ve only recently realised to be true.

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Uber the provocateur

uber the provocateur blog post banner
A still from Uber’s “Let’s unlock cities” campaign

Ads before a movie screening in the cinema are like the tasty dessert before a meal. With the big screen and surround sound, ads become extra poignant. Recently there was one ad that really stood out for me – I mean, it really popped out.

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Users expect bug-free software

people using ipad phone and laptop
Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Users don’t care how your product works. As long as it works.

A user will accept one or two bugs in your product. They might be taken aback, but they’re likely to give you a chance or two.

A paying user will most likely not accept any.

But neither cares about why your product isn’t working exactly as it’s supposed to. So work hard to think of edge cases and handle them, write tests and if possible, use your own product constantly.

We seldom discover bugs in apps by Facebook, Uber, Basecamp, Medium, YouTube, Google, Slack… these are among the most used apps. And from constant exposure to excellent software, users have come to expect all software to just work (read: be bug-free).

While we know as developers that nirvana lies in 100 percent test coverage, and that nirvana is impossible just like perfection, we must still strive to deliver the experience of bug-free software.

Because users don’t care how it works. As long as it works.

How to know you are a junior developer

two people in boots standing with sand suspended around their feet
Photo by Gili Benita on Unsplash

Today I heard a hilarious way of benchmarking one’s noob-ness in the tech industry as a developer. It was a passing comment by my friend Terence over a beer this lovely evening when we were talking about our fledgling careers in tech.

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Generalist vs Specialist

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Rama today. We talked about many things, from management to meditation, creating music to digging shell scrapes. The most interesting topic that we explored was the idea of a generalist versus a specialist.

table with laptops and an empty chair
Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

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Mind the always tired folly

As an adult, I often hang out with friends after work for drinks or a munch. As an adult, I’ve also noticed that it takes time for other adults to be vulnerable in a social setting, before we talk about The Real Stuff, and sometimes just when things start to get interesting someone would announce that he is tired and propose to call it a night. It’s not just the guys either.

We’re all adults here, so I’m going to lay it straight – that’s not cool.

The hours after work are holy for anyone who’s working full time. To get together takes advanced planning and saying “no” to other plans and accepting an expense of energy (that could have been saved so we’d have more to work the next day), and being always tired and taking away the best parts of the night is quite simply unacceptable.

But why is this happening in the first place? What’s making that person in the group always tired?

It’s very unlikely that this is someone who genuinely has tonnes more work to do than the rest of the lot. If he did, he’d probably be hanging out with his other busy friends, not this bunch who appreciates a good chat. The truth is neither the truth nor the reason in these situations.

That leaves us with 2 possible answers:
1. This person doesn’t actually care about you and your group of friends.
2. He/she isn’t keeping balance in his life.

If it’s the first answer, there’s nothing much left to discuss. Let this person slowly fade away from the pack.

If it’s the second though, what can we do?

Every person has the same amount of time each day. How we spend the time determines whether we’ll be beat by the time we finally get to hang out with friends or not.

I know that everybody also has varying degrees of financial independence and family responsibilities (though it’s most likely not that big a difference if you’re friends), but I believe that this fact only partially accounts for someone’s perpetual fatigue. There has to be a specific area in this person’s life that is maintaining, even enlarging the leaky pipe. I believe that for most people (based on observation), it’s the (lack of) state of their minds.

I know because I’ve been there. I’ve been the person who begs for the night to end early so I wouldn’t be exhausted at work the next day before. Every time I manage to muster enough clarity to reflect on the reason, it’s always the same one. I hadn’t been spending my time properly. I’d been mindlessly doing thing after thing, and not doing more things after things. Things up there were in a mess.

Living a good life requires deliberate action. A person will not get better just by being himself. He needs to think of a better version of himself, sketch a plan to become more like that and occasionally put in the work to actually improve. Spending any time in a mindless state in 2017 will not just cause us to stagnate – it’s likely to cause us to regress.

We’d be better off taking what Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption had to learn the hard way and run with it: get busy living, or get busy dying. Close YouTube whenever you’re on it just for entertainment (and recognise it’s the new TV) and get more sleep. Maybe then you’ll not feel quite as tired the next time you’re with your slightly more mindful friends.